‘What the f–k are you doing?’ Aussie Purcell slams strange Aus Open uniform choice after first-round win
Criticism of Australian Open crowds has flown thick and fast among the players at the 2024 tournament, with everything from antics at the Court 6 ‘Courtside bar’ to a laxing of rules allowing fans to enter and exit arenas in between points without needing to wait for a change of ends proving controversial.
However, following his first-round win over Hungarian Mate Valkusz to reach the second round at the tournament for the first time, Aussie Max Purcell had a different issue – the uniform of Melbourne Park’s security guards.
Dressed in bright ‘fluoro’ yellow shirts and present at every court, the guards are an ever-present part of the tennis precinct – but according to the 25-year old, their attire made serving a challenge.
However, he also had no issues with any behaviour from the crowd, saying they were ‘fine’ to act as they pleased.
“Nah, it’s fine, I didn’t think it was an issue,” Purcell said in his post-match press conference.
“The only thing that was annoying me was the security guards at the entrance wearing fluoro yellow.
“People are throwing up balls on serve, and I’m like, ‘what the f–k are you doing? Can’t see the ball!’
“Any other colour, please. They [tournament organisers] didn’t think that one through.
“But as far as the people, it was fine.”
Having reached a career-high ranking of 45th heading into the Australian Open – the third-highest ranked Aussie behind Alex de Minaur (10) and Alexei Popyrin (43) – Purcell’s next mission is to face 11th seed and three-time grand slam finalist Casper Ruud in the second round.
However, having defeated the Norwegian star at last year’s Cincinnati Masters, the 24-year old is confident he can cause an upset – with a little help from the Australian climate.
“I thought the conditions really suited me in Cincinnati, more so than him [Ruud] with my serve, and I was coming into the net a lot,” Purcell said.
“It can be hot and fast here. The balls are a little bit heavier. I don’t see why it can’t work again.
Purcell also called on Australian Open organisers to grant him a day match to give him an edge on Ruud.
I just want to play in the middle of the day, because any time you get to play Europeans in the Australian summer when they’ve come from indoor in winter, it’s a huge plus,” he said.
Sports opinion delivered daily
“The bigger the court, the more Australian fans I get cheering me on, so if I’m feeling fit, and I’m up for the challenge and the heat, then why not take a big court in the middle of the day?”